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Open Government Advocacy Project:
Councilman Washington\'s Trial Transcript

Issue Detail:

I have uploaded the transcript of Councilman Washington\'s August 9, 2011 trial in the Woolwich Township Municipal Court here: Also uploaded to the above link are a) Washington\'s defense brief, authored by Shannon M. Cornelius of the Law Office of Timothy D. Scaffidi of Woodbury and b) the State\'s brief authored by Gloucester County Assistant Prosecutor Margaret A. Cipparrone. According to my January 31, 2012 conversation with Gloucester County Criminal Case Manager Rosemarie Gallagher, the Scaffidi firm was appointed to represent Washington after he applied for free counsel as an indigent. Washington represented himself in municipal court. To summarize, a lieutenant and a detective from the Salem County Prosecutor\'s Office testified that they were standing on State Street, Penns Grove, outside the Penns Grove Police Department on May 18, 2011. They said that about 10:05 a.m., they observed Washington pull into the parking lot from State Street, exit his car and walk across the street. The next day, after receiving permission from his supervisor, the lieutenant issued Washington a summons for driving with a suspended license. Washington then testified on his own behalf. He said that he knew that his license was suspended on May 18, 2011. Accordingly, he said that his wife drove him to Borough Hall that day because he \"already knew what the plot and the set up and the plan was.\" (T22:25) He testified that because his car windows are tinted, it may have been difficult for someone to tell how many people were in the car. Next, Washington\'s wife, Michelle Renee Washington, testified. She testified that she, and not Councilman Washington, was the driver on May 18, 2011. Thereafter, the prosecution recalled the lieutenant who testified that Mr. Washington\'s car\'s windows were not so heavily tinted to prevent him from seeing into the car. He testified that only one person--Mr. Washington--was in the car and that he saw him driving the car and get out of the driver side door. During closing arguments, Councilman Washington said that some of the decisions that he made while serving on Penns Grove\'s Police Committee caused him to be warned that \"they were out to get [him] for political reasons.\" (T32:11-12) Judge William J. Golden found that the lieutenant\'s and investigator\'s testimony was clear and consistent and sustained the prosecution\'s burden in the case. He reviewed Mr. Washington\'s driver abstract and found ten prior convictions for driving with a suspended license, the most recent one being ten or eleven years prior. He sentenced Washington to pay a $1,006 fine, $33 in costs, serve ten days in jail and an additional 30 day term of license suspension. Judge Golden also indicated that he would approve Mr. Washington, if he was eligible, to serve his ten days in a program that is an alternative jail, such as the Sheriff\'s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP).




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New Jersey Libertarian Party Open Government Advocacy Project: Councilman Washington\'s Trial Transcript. February 05, 2012.
URL: http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2012/2012036p5/
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